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Addressing Food Loss in the U.S.

November 23, 2016

Addressing Food Loss in the U.S.

By: Meghan Stasz,  Senior Director, Sustainability, Grocery Manufacturers Association

This year saw progress across many important food and agriculture issues at the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). One in particular has been the issue of food waste. Currently, 30 to 40 percent of the food grown in the U.S. is wasted, highlighting not just a missed opportunity to address food insecurity in America but also representing wasted natural resources and inefficiencies in our systems. This is what led GMA, along with the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the National Restaurant Association (NRA), to launch the cross-sector coalition, the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA), in 2011.

 

Earlier this year, FWRA conducted a survey of the industry to better quantify food waste from each sector and understand the barriers to food donation and food waste recycling that businesses are facing. The report found that companies across the industry are making direct investments to better measure food waste, find ways to donate more food, and/or improve internal processes. It also found that measuring food waste remains a top best practice but also a challenge for many businesses.

 

FWRA compiled case studies, released in December, comparing differing public policies aimed at food waste reduction and getting early insights into their impact on businesses. These case studies examine the statewide ban on organic material to landfill by large-scale generators in Massachusetts; a city-wide food waste ban in Seattle, Washington; and the voluntary program for businesses being run by the city of Orlando, Florida.  Understanding how varying policies work on the ground and the resulting impacts on food businesses will help inform this important conversation in the years to come.

 

In 2015, the Obama Administration announced a national goal to reduce food waste in the U.S. by 50 percent by 2030. It will take efforts across sectors and up and down the supply chain to reach that goal, and FWRA hopes to remain a leader on this important issue.

 

To learn more about FWRA or the issue of food waste, please visit www.foodwastealliance.org.